According to the news reports, the law authorizing the wall has already been passed. As a result, President Trump issued an executive order to go ahead and build the wall relying on that law. The order itself does not need Congressional approval and the authorization was passed in the original law. The order says that
- Analysis must be done to continue implementing the law
- Funds that have been allocated but not spent and are still available must be used (which does not require additional consent). This includes money that is part of the budget allocated to the appropriate departments that each department can use for the project.
- Future funds that must be put in the budget are to be identified so that Congressional consent can be requested.
- A full survey of the border must be done so that we can know what was done and what still needs to be done within what was already approved.
- If something that needs to be done has not been approved within the already passed law, then identify it so that it can be submitted to Congress.
The quoted order says
(a) In accordance with existing law, including the Secure Fence Act and IIRIRA
Start planning and identifying what needs to be done to complete design and manufacture of what the president calls the wall and what the original law called a "fence" or other documents called a barrier.
This will not be a complete wall along the whole border but will be a mix of technologies and methods that will be appropriate to each different area along the border. Those parts that have already been built are not continuous but depend on the terrain and the circumstances.
As far as funding of the wall is concerned, the president has said that eventually it will come from Mexico. Others say that the decrease in welfare costs for illegal immigrants will cover it. Others say that Congress has already authorized the appropriate spending. However, we will have to wait and see what happens now. This is a separate discussion and is not part of the order.
Additionally, part of the order is to
(b) Identify and, to the extent permitted by law, allocate all sources
of Federal funds
which means that part of the order is to use funds already authorized for the payment of this construction. That is, the appropriate departments are to identify what funds are available within the current budget for construction and maintenance of the border. If appropriated or allocated funds are identified but have not been used, then they are to be used.
The next part is to identify what funding must be put into future budget requests so that the appropriate legislation can be sent to Congress for future approval. Note that there is a difference between the general budget for the appropriate departments that can be allocated to the project and specific funding that must be passed as belonging to a separate line item within the budget that will be part of the project.
(c) Project and develop long-term funding requirements for the wall,
including preparing Congressional budget requests for the current and
upcoming fiscal years;
The last part is to perform a full survey of the border so that the the appropriate departments will know what actually has to be done and what technologies are required. It must also identify what state resources are available for the project (either already allocated or to be passed by the states) as well what resources are already allocated by the Federal government as well as what Federal resources need to be put in Congressional funding bills.
For example if a certain amount of concrete has already been purchased for the project, then it can be used without further congressional approval.
With Senate Vote, Congress Passes Border Fence Bill
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 30, 2006
The Senate gave final approval last night to legislation authorizing
the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing on the
U.S.-Mexico border, shelving President Bush's vision of a
comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration laws in favor of a vast
Bush signs law to build fence at US-Mexico border Friday, October 27, 2006
Today U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law the Secure Fence
Act of 2006, a plan to build a 700 mile (1,125 kilometer) fence
between the United States and Mexico, to prevent illegal immigration.
Mexico has expressed strong opposition to the fence, which covers
about one third of the total border length.